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Thursday, 5 March 1970

Mr HULME - The honourable member will know that 2 or 3 years ago I made a very full statement to the House about the provision of frequency modulation broadcasting in Australia. This matter had been considered on a number of occasions. Recommendations of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board have in fact been against the institution of this system in Australia for, I think, some very good reasons. First of all the Government is and has been involved in very substantial expenditure in the introduction of broadcasting and television in this country. There are still a number of areas of Australia which do not have either television or a satisfactory broadcasting transmission available to them. It is believed that our expenditure and our concentration of effort should be with a view to- providing satisfactory services in these areas where none now exists before we expand into other fields. But there is an additional problem, because while we get fidelity of sound with frequency modulation the area of coverage is very small. In the United States of America and Canada progress in this field has been so great that in the United States alone 5,000 stations have been established, but so prolific are these stations that it is almost impossible to tune to the station of one's choice and obtain the result which might be hoped for by those in Australia who in recent times have been exerting pressure for the institution of frequency modulation in this country. This is a matter which the Broadcasting Control Board has under review on a more or less constant basis in conjunction with its considerations in other areas of broadcasting and television. From time to time the Board issues reports, which are considered by the Government.

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